Initial Teacher Training

Find out more about our school direct programmes...

The Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance offers a pathway into a career as a primary school teacher through our two School Direct programmes: 

Train to be a primary teacher through one of our school direct programmes

Train to teach with us… through our post graduate school direct PGCE or salaried programmes

The Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance is the only Primary specific teaching school in the City of Bristol. We work with the majority of Bristol primary schools and therefore have a invested interest in ‘growing our own’ teachers through spotting talent and potential; we are able to coach and nurture our trainees towards employment in local schools as highly sought after and highly skilled teachers.  Since 2014, we have supported more than 100 teachers enter the profession.

We have an exceptional employment rate – the vast majority of teachers training with us secure teaching posts for September.

Historically, training days have been based at Ashley Down Primary School, one of the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance schools, with placements in a range of schools across the city and beyond, including our Alliance schools. From September 2017 we moved our training venue to Whitehall Primary School which is also part of our teaching school alliance. From September 2020 we will be based at Bishop Road Primary School, but we also work in many other schools in the city!

We offer two high quality and highly regarded school direct routes into primary school teaching.  

Sign up to come along to one of our information sessions

Why not sign up for our next open event where you can come to meet us informally and find out about our programmes?

Our open events are listed below: please register for a place if you wish to come along and see us.

Our open events take place at Whitehall Primary School, Johnsons Lane, BS5 9AZ: register your place here:

Please note: Future open events have been postponed until further notice while school closures are in place, however if you have booked a place to come along, we will be in touch.

Which route is right for me?

There are two types of School Direct training on offer through the Alliance: a salaried route and a Post Graduate PGCE school based route.

Further routes in to teaching can be found here.

It is important to identify the route that best suits your needs: see our flowchart and further information below.

Find out more about the School Direct PGCE route here

What is the School Direct: (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) PGCE route?

The School Direct PGCE route offers a mix of a traditional PGCE at university, with school based learning across the Alliance partner schools. This route enables you to draw on the expertise of your home and placement schools; a class mentor, the Alliance lead for Initial Teacher Training; Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) from across the city and the university  over your one year of training. Led by our teacher training lead, together this group organises and manages your programme. This is not a salaried route so normal tuition fees apply.  However, you can apply for loans and living costs as you would with an undergraduate degree course, even if you have had loans before.  Additional funds are available for people in certain groups, for example if you have dependants or have a disability. 

The Alliance works in partnership with the University of the West of England for the PGCE route and some of your time is spent there. This programme has an academic element, with regular assignments across the year.

You will have a school based mentor; link tutor (from UWE) and regular training with the Alliance teacher training lead and Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) from across the city.

When working with us, training is in small groups of 20 or less, our PGCE programme is run by the city’s specialist leaders of education (SLEs) – the best teachers at the cutting edge of practice, from highly successful schools.

More information is shown here:Train to teach with us


Find out more about the School Direct Salaried route here

What is the School Direct Salaried route?

School Direct (salaried) is an employment based route into teaching. This route is particularly suitable for people who have a degree and have worked in schools for a period of time as teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants, cover teachers or in similar roles and who now wish to train to become a qualified teacher.

Please note, places for the salaried route are extremely competitive and there are only very limited places for applicants who are not already employed in a school and where the school has agreed to pay for your training year.

This route is designed predominantly for those already with significant experience of working in primary schools, in roles such as a teaching assistant, higher level teaching assistant or as a cover teacher.  Those applying for this route are usually sponsored and employed by the school they are working in, as they may intend to step up their role and continue working there following training.  The school takes them on as an unqualified teacher and pays their salary for the year, with some financial assistance from the teaching school. 

Please note, there are only very limited places for applicants who are not already employed in a school and where the school has agreed to pay for your training.

A School Direct Salaried trainee works in a school full-time and is paid for the year of the training. The Alliance provides regular additional training days away from the classroom on a weekly basis with opportunities to explore key aspects of teaching and learning, theory and subject knowledge with other trainees and led by an Initial Teacher Education mentor and Specialist Leaders of Education  – outstanding teachers and school leaders from school across the city. This also provides opportunities to reflect, discuss and share issues arising in the classroom and so enable the trainee to consider their progress against the Standards for Teachers.

The programme is validated by the CLF institute (SCITT) where your sessions will be delivered – these are usually at the CLF Institute, Russell Town Ave, Redfield, Bristol BS5 9JH – near the centre of Bristol.  You will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) on successful completion of the programme and can also opt for a PGCE for an additional fee.

You will have two school ‘placements’ in two Key Stages – in both your lead school and for at least a term in a contrasting school with a different age range.  In both placements, you will share a class of children and build up your percentage of teaching from day 1, to around 80% of the timetable by June.  You will have a school based mentor and regular visits to give you the best possible start to your career. The Alliance offers a supportive, friendly yet challenging salaried route where you are made to feel part of the school team whilst you are training.

What qualifications do I need?

Before you can take up a place on a School Direct route (or any route into teaching) you are required to have a second or first class degree, you also need to have passed English, maths and science GCSEs (or equivalent) in at grade C / 4 or above. 

If you have GCSE equivalents listed by the Department for Education, e.g. O levels, or successfully passed tests via  or certain overseas qualifications you can also train. FOr overseas qualifications, you will need to check equivalence with an organisation such as NARIC.  All qualifications need to be in place by the start of the programme.

We would also strongly recommend some voluntary or paid experience in a primary classroom before commencing the programme.

There is no longer a requirement to pass the QTS skills tests in English and Maths if you are starting to train with us from September 2020.

How to apply

The application process is through UCAS for both the salaried and PGCE routes: Click here to find the pages on the UCAS site

All courses will be available to view on the UCAS site from September and the applications open in October in readiness for intake in the following September.  

If you are keen to train as a teacher with us, please apply early, as the places fill up very quickly! 

We close our application rounds when our places are filled.

If you wish to apply for a School Direct place with the Alliance (Salaried or PGCE route) then you need to apply for the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance (Ashley Down Primary / Whitehall Primary) via UCAS: our provider code is 1PL.

Interviews take place from December and early into the new year in readiness for the following September intake. When our places fill up, we close our window for application for that year, so you are recommended to apply early – windows for UCAS applications open at the end of October.

If you would like to find out more about bursaries and funding, pop across to the Get into Teaching website.

Queries and questions can be emailed to (Our alliance initial teacher training manager).

If you have any questions about our programmes, do contact Mark Townsend, our teacher training lead to find out more: